Operating room becomes concert hall for two Modesto boys

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We had a good time dressing up in scrubs and playing the violin at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California 6/6/15.

I had an opportunity on Saturday to spend some time with two amazing brothers who have passion for violin and aspire to become surgeons.  I heard about them through social media, and I wanted a chance to meet them.  Doctors Medical Center and the Modesto Chamber of Commerce helped to set this up.  We were able to give them a brief tour of the operating room areas, and we had a private concert in a large operating room which is used for storage and backup in case of disaster trauma.   We played some violin for each other.  I was especially intrigued that they wanted to become surgeons.  I wanted to give them a friendly taste of surgery life.  I especially enjoyed giving them a chance to try out our surgical outfits, and I think they enjoyed spending time in an operating room – in a non-threatening way.  And I wanted to impart that performing surgery is much like performing musical instruments.  Jorge and Sebastian have a great deal of potential.  I am honored to be able to spend a few moments with them.

I also got to meet a very talented Modesto Bee writer.  She says she normally writes crime stories, but in this case I think she’s wearing a different hat:

Getting interviewed.
Getting interviewed by Modesto Bee’s Erin Tracy.


Below is the article from the Modesto Bee (text copied and texted), please visit the link below for the actual website which has a video and many other pictures.  The pictures and videos in this blog are my own.  But the article belongs to Erin Tracy and the Modesto Bee.

First, some of what I played that day on the violin:

Modesto Bee Article by Erin Tracy:

Operating room becomes concert hall for two Modesto boys

The operating table became a music stand, surgery lights transformed into stage lights, and forceps and scalpels were replaced with violins and bows for a special concert at Doctors Medical Center on Saturday.

Two Modesto boys – Jorge Mendoza, 12, and Sebastian Mendoza, 8 – had a booming business at the hospital last month during Lemonade Day, a nationwide program designed to educate children about business.

When violin-playing surgeon Dr. Calvin Lee learned the boys intended to use the lemonade stand’s profits for summer music camp and to save for a violin, he was intrigued.

When he was told Jorge also was interested in becoming a surgeon, he decided he had to meet the boys.

“I think playing the violin helps you become a better surgeon,” Lee said. “Because of the dexterity skills and the ability to break complex tasks down to a simple thing.”

He wasn’t able to make it to Lemonade Day, but with the help of hospital staff the doctor arranged for something even better: a concert in one of the operating rooms.

Jorge was dressed for the occasion in a sharp pinstriped suit, and Sebastian looked handsome in a blue plaid shirt.

Before entering the O.R., though, they covered up with green scrubs to match Dr. Lee. He taught them to tuck in the drawstring on the pants.

“Only the TV doctors let them hang out,” he said.

After a brief tour, the concert began in operating room 12.

Jorge and Sebastian first played a duet by Mozart, followed by a Beethoven solo by Jorge and Sebastian’s rendering of “Dragon Hunter” by Richard Meyer.

Then, Lee wowed the boys with Bach.

“As a trauma/general surgeon, Bach meant a lot to me,” he said. “When I hear the music of Bach, sometimes I feel like there’s somebody looking over me, guiding my hands.”

Lee worked as a surgeon at Doctors Medical Center from 2003 to 2006 but since has opened a plastic surgery practice, Surgical Artistry in Modesto, with his wife, Dr. Tammy Wu.

Wu was in the audience Saturday, along with the boys’ parents, Jorge Mendoza Sr. and Erika Mendoza, Modesto Councilwoman Jenny Kenoyer, Modesto Chamber of Commerce president Cecil Russell and hospital spokeswoman Tiffani Burns.

Jorge said he was initially a bit nervous about playing for Lee, “because I could tell he was going to be better than me and I’m so used to being really good since I only play at school.”

On Lemonade Day, he and Sebastian made a gross profit of $933.

After paying back the loan from their mother for overhead costs, the boys donated $125 to the Make a Wish Foundation. Sebastian bought a remote-controlled car, and Jorge used $190 to pay the balance owed for music camp after receiving a partial scholarship.

The remainder was put into savings accounts; Jorge is saving up to buy a violin, and Sebastian will use his to attend music camp with his brother in a few years when he’s old enough.

Erin Tracy: (209) 578-2366, @ModestoBeeCrime

Screenshot from the Modesto Bee Newspaper 6/7/15


We can behave and pose for the camera. Yes we can!


Walking into the operating room areas at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California
Walking into the operating room areas at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California

Doctors Medical Center Modesto


I seem to always have something to say


Look at that intensity!


Young violinist surgeons in the making.



There we go, I need some Botox for sure.
There we go, I need some Botox for sure.


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